A new study reveals more than one in eight players of massively multiplayer online games like World of Warcraft and Second Life are addicted.
A Nottingham Trent research study of 7,000 online gamers showed that 12 percent exhibit at least three of the diagnostic criteria of addiction as outlined by the World Health Organisation. These include: craving, withdrawal symptoms, loss of control, and neglect of other activities.
The survey was filled in by a self-selected sample comprising mainly of males with an average age of 21, and was concerned principally with the potential for addiction to online gaming. Griffiths said, "I'm sure if we'd done this survey looking at non-online players, looking at gamers that play on stand-alone systems, my guess is that the prevalence of addiction-like symptoms would have been much less prevalent."
According to Griffiths, the problem with online games is there will never be a point where the player has battled the final boss, tied up the story, and can turn the computer off with a feeling of satisfaction. "Of course the game never switches off, you can't even pause the game," he told GameSpot. "So if you are really into the gameplay, I can see why a small proportion of people do get hooked and feel like they don't want to leave."